Re: half-evolved feathers

Glenn Morton (
Sat, 11 Apr 1998 10:17:27 -0500

At 10:03 AM 4/11/98 +0800, Stephen Jones wrote:

>GM>Feduccia and Wild relate:
>>"Megalancosaurus, in combination with Longisquama, a Lower
>>Triassic thecodont with featherlike scales and furcula, render
>>this group (basal archosaurs, including thecodonts) the most
>>liekly candidate for proximity to avian ancestry."~A. Feduccia
>>and R. Wild, "Birdlike Characters in the Triassic Archosaur
>>Megalancosaurus," Naturwissenschaften, 80(1993):564-566
>>It would appear that the antievolutionary claim is not verified by
>>observational data.
>This is dated *1993* and is in a non-English speaking journal at that.
>What exactly are "featherlike scales" and "Birdlike Characters"? Do
>you seriously think that if *real* half-scales/half-feathers had been
>found *six years ago* it would not have been trumpeted from the
>evolutionary rooftops and republished in SCIENCE and NATURE?


It was found in 1972 not 1993. Further Naturwissenschaften DOES publish
articles in English and the Feduccia and Wild article, which I have a xerox
of, is written in perfectly understandable english. And I might point out
that just because an article is in another language does not exclude a
researcher wanting to discuss evidence from getting a copy of that article
and getting it translated. What is the point of this objection, simply to
make an objection?

Since I don't really give much credence to what Gish says when he hasn't
even mentioned Longisquama in any of his writings, I will snip all that and
simply direct people to a picture of the Longisquama fossil in Feduccia The
Origin and Evolution of Birds,(New Haven, Yale University Press, 1996) p. 134

But Feduccia shows a picture of the featherlike scales on page 134 and they
do indeed look featherlike with a central ridge and perpendicular radiating.
Other than a gentle curve to the whole scale and a nice gentle rounding at
the end they look like this:

--------------- | |\
------------ | | | | | \
| | | | | | | |\
| | | | | | | |/
------------ | | | | | /
--------------- | |/

Where | are ridges and = is the central stem.

If this scale is made of the same material as feathers the only real
alteration which would be required is for the sides of the feather be
fractally structured like the barbules of feathers. I don't know how anyone
looking at these could mistake their resemblance to feathers.

But I won't play the game you play, Stephen of quoting irrelevancys since
Gish wasn't referring to the Longisquama and has never mentioned it. By the
way, as I pointed out the earliest english account of Longisquama is in 1972
and anyone with an ounce of curiosity could order the russian journal and
look at the pictures. I have. Gish et al didn't.


Adam, Apes, and Anthropology: Finding the Soul of Fossil Man


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